Thailand: Pollution and smog wreak havoc on the population

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Sore throat and breathing difficulties: Extreme air pollution threatens the health of people in northern Thailand. Smog is caused by slash and burn land clearing – tourist areas are also affected. Bangkok, the capital, is no exception to this problem.

Northern Thailand suffers from toxic smog

For days, large parts of the region have been under such a thick blanket of toxic smog that many residents are already struggling with health issues.

The provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, popular with tourists, were particularly affected. During the week of March 19-26, more than 3,400 people went to hospitals in Chiang Rai to be treated for breathing difficulties and sore throats, Thai broadcaster PBS World reported on Tuesday.

Residents demand measures that always come too late

“Mae Sai Village is shrouded in such thick mist that the buildings can only be seen up close.” Civil society and business groups have called on the provincial governor, Puttipong Sirimat, to declare the community a disaster area. However, he initially rejected the move.

Farmers burn fields including in border areas

The reason for the extreme air pollution is slash-and-burn agriculture in Thailand, but also in neighboring countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. At the end of the dry season, farmers burn their fields to rid them of undergrowth and weeds. Between January and March, there are therefore often high levels of fine particles. Chiang Rai is located on the Golden Triangle in the border area with Laos and Myanmar.

In addition, there is currently no wind in northern Thailand, so the smog cannot dissipate, Pollution Control Office Director General Pinsak Suraswadi quoted in the Bangkok newspaper. Post, The situation should not change until next week.

Catherine Mills Avatar